Intern Error: Dealing with Mistakes in the Workplace

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Posted by The Editors on July 13, 2011
Intern Error: Dealing with Mistakes in the Workplace

Overcoming mistakes can be difficult, but overcoming them as an intern can be a downright nail-biting experience when your job and reputation are at risk. Summer season is in full swing and by now you should be familiar with your job responsibilities and boundaries. But just in case you’ve made a workplace blunder and are wondering how you’ll ever recover, here are four tips from a fellow intern (yes, me) who has been in your shoes, felt those feelings, and yes, even lived to tell the tale.

1.  Take a deep breath and assess the situation.
Feeling like a load of bricks has been placed on your chest and one more breath may be your last? That’s called guilt and we’ve all felt it. The first thing you should do when it’s taking over is take a moment to gain some perspective: Unless your working for the big man upstairs, I can assure you that your mistake hasn’t just brought on the next apocalypse. Just relax.

Once you calm down, really think about the mistake you’ve made and assess whether it’s as bad as you initially assumed. It’s amazing what a clear mind and a few relaxation techniques can accomplish. Remind yourself that you are the intern. While mistakes often lead to consequences, it’s not likely that your boss will assign you a task that could bring the company to ruins if you mess up.

2.  Always admit your wrongdoing quickly.
Honesty is the best policy. Don’t ever try to hide it, or worse, blame your mistake on someone else. Be upfront and your boss will respect you more for it. Credibility is everything and admitting your mistake is the first step to recovering it. The sooner you fess up, the less damage may be done.

3.  Apologize.
Because it’s just the polite thing to do when you mess up. All ego aside, you made an honest mistake, own up to it and be sincere.

4.  Learn from your mistake and move on to better and brighter days!
Don’t stress too much. Understand what you did wrong, why it was wrong, and how to avoid making that mistake again. There will always be bigger, more important things to dwell on so don’t let one slip-up bring you down too much. Shed a tear, give yourself a little slap on the wrist, and then do yourself a favor and put the past behind you. Remember: You can’t change the past but you can learn from it.

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